HC Deb 21 June 1996 vol 279 cc631-2W
Sir Michael Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list the level of his Department's funding in current and future years for the purchase of satellite-derived data; [33254]

(2) what current use is made of satellites to provide environmental data for his Department; and if he will make a statement. [33253]

Mr. Clappison

The Department uses Earth observation data from satellites directly and also indirectly through commissioned research. The advanced along track scanning radiometer, to be flown in 1999 to test for the onset of human-induced climate changes, is an unique example of instrument purchase. Funding will be £15 million between 1991 and 1999. Satellite-derived data contribute to commissioned research including the climate change predictions of the Hadley centre, the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology land cover map of Great Britain and the planned countryside survey 2000, north-east Atlantic rainfall and sea state climatology, and North sea plankton growth. Specific costs for the satellite data are not kept centrally. The Environment Agency uses satellite-derived data for water catchment management, diffuse pollution assessment and oil spill monitoring, and for research on flood defence. Specific future funding has yet to be identified. The Department keeps under review the further potential of satellite-derived data to provide information at an appropriate cost.